Literature / Cavendon Hall

Cavendon Hall is a 2014 Edwardian Era novel set in England, featuring two families: the Inghams and the Swanns. It mainly focuses on the two middle Ingham daughters, Daphne and DeLacy, and the only Swann daughter Cecily. The plot really takes off about 90 pages in when Daphne gets raped by the older brother of a childhood friend.

As of 2015, Cavendon Hall has a sequel called The Cavendon Women.

Tropes:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: the Inghams, especially the father. The father, Charles, is clearly beloved by everyone in all of his villages, to the point where the staff have no idea who could have raped Daphne and set the stable on fire. Dulcie and Daphne also seem to be particularly loved by at least the rest of the family and the staff, though it's hard to tell how far that extends beyond the family.
  • Adorkable: Hugo. Also, the younger Ingham son, Michael.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: At first with Daphne. Her original fears include finding a handsome, nice boy to marry after her debutante ball. While the date does have to be moved up, she does eventually find a nice, handsome boy to marry.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Except for Daphne and Hugo, and Cecily and Michael. However, the sequel reveals that Michael has married another.
  • Alliterative Family: All the female Ingham children have names beginning with D, possibly after Charles' father, David: Diedre, Daphne, DeLacy, and Dulcie.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Both Guy and Diedre, the two oldest Ingham children, do not appear until well over 50 pages into the book, and remain minor characters throughout; both are also absent for the last third of the book.
  • Altar the Speed: Hugo and Daphne get married within a month of their engagement appearing in the local papers because of Daphne's pregnancy.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Dulcie, at least in the opinion of Diedre. While none of the others seem to find her annoying, her behavior does raise some eyebrows, especially as she escapes from her nanny no less than 5 times. However, Dulcie matures rapidly under her new nanny, who treats her as a grown-up.
  • Anything That Moves: One interpretation for Richard Torbett, if he was willing to go after a six-year-old.
  • The Artful Dodger: Genevra, the gypsy girl who lives on the grounds. She is, however, slightly older than most examples of this trope, being 14 years old (stated retroactively) during the summer that most of the first book's events take place.
  • Attention Whore: Possibly with Diedre. She questions basically if her sister's wedding was a shotgun wedding after seeing her niece for the first time and even says that they shouldn't be making such a fuss over "just a baby".
  • Beleaguered Childhood Friend: Possibly Julian with regards to Daphne.
  • Beautiful All Along: Daphne discovers this early on in the book; in a twist, she is always told that she is quite beautiful, but she does not believe so.
  • The Beautiful Elite: All of the Inghams, except for Diedre, are described as either handsome or beautiful, especially Charles, Daphne, and Dulcie, who "has the face of a Boticelli angel".
  • Berserk Button: Hurting any of the Ingham girls is a major one for Hugo, who almost murders the man who raped Daphne and tried to hurt Dulcie and several female servants.
  • Bi the Way: Diedre is revealed, in the sequel, to have had at least one lesbian liaison.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Daphne feels this to both DeLacy and Dulcie. She comforts DeLacy after DeLacy accidentally spills ink on her ballgown and then talks Dulcie down from a temper tantrum. She also takes care of Dulcie when they fire her nanny and even helps find a new nanny for her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Diedre. However, she's also the plain one in the family, so it at least sort of makes sense. This is also something she outgrows by the time of the sequel.
  • Black Sheep: Both Felicity and Vanessa eventually become this in regard to the Ingham family.
  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: The Ingham family has 2 boys (Guy and Michael), 2 girls (Diedre and Daphne), and 2 babies (DeLacy and Dulcie). Though DeLacy, who is 12, could be considered one of the "girls", as she is only two years younger than the youngest boy. Dulcie, meanwhile, is five years old.
  • Boyish Short Hair: DeLacy, Diedre, and Charlotte in the sequel, all of whom have cut their hair into short, '20s-style bobs.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Dulcie, though she is only 5 years old for the majority of the book.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Diedre, even though she is twenty and so no longer a teenager. While her brattiness is somewhat less than Dulcie's, it's especially evident after Daphne's wedding, especially after Alicia is born. Again, this is something she eventually outgrows.
  • Break the Cutie: The entire first book is this for Daphne.
  • Broken Ace: Daphne. She is the most beautiful of the Ingham children and seems to have everything going for her at the beginning of the book. The same cannot be said for her in the middle of the book, but she returns to her former status by the end of the book.
  • Broken Bird: Daphne. See the YMMV page for more details. This also happens to DeLacy in the sequel.
  • The Bus Came Back: Happens to both Richard Torbett (in the World War I chapters) and to Felicity Ingham (at Michael's engagement party). Also happens to several other characters throughout the book, as the book covers a five-year period where not everybody is present. For example, both Michael and Guy are students at Eton and Oxford, respectively, and so keep going to and from school throughout the book.
  • Bus Crash: Guy appears for a bit in the middle of the book, then leaves to go fight in the war. He is never seen or heard from again; it is just said that he's Missing in Action. It is only in the last few chapters that it is revealed that he was killed in Verdun.
  • Camp Straight: Apparently, Julian. He is frequently described as the most effeminate and "wishy-washy" of the Torbett boys, but he is also engaged to a pretty girl when he first appears. This is why everyone is surprised that he is Daphne's apparent rapist.
  • Child by Rape: Alicia, though she is being raised as Hugo's daughter.
  • Child Prodigy: Cecily is able to design - more like "engineer" - clothes at the age of 12 that her mother can barely make, and she is specifically called a child prodigy in the book.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Between Michael and Cecily. The sequel will tell if it is successful or not.
  • Cool Big Sis: Daphne is this with regards to DeLacy and Dulcie, and possibly to Michael as well, especially in comparison to Diedre and Guy, who are rarely available.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: DeLacy. In one of her first scenes, she ruins one of Daphne's ballgowns by knocking into an inkpot. She's not seen very much after that, so it's hard to tell if she grows out of this or not.
  • Daddy's Girl: All of the girls, except Diedre. The youngest two barely seem to care when their mother leaves the family. However, all of the children, except Diedre, seem to be much closer to their father than to their mother, to the point that by the time of the sequel, most of them don't even fall her "Mama," but by her first name, while they all still call their father "Papa."
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cecily has basically been freezing Miles and DeLacy out for the past six years, but once she realizes she's still in love with Miles, she becomes friends with DeLacy again.
  • Disposable FiancÚ: Michael's fiancee/wife in the sequel, who is killed off-screen in the last few pages to make room for Michael to marry Cecily, who is pregnant with his child.
  • The Ditz: DeLacy. She literally has no clue why Cecily would upset to know that Michael was going to marry someone else.
  • Domestic Abuse: Diedre's friend Laura and little sister DeLacy both suffer from this in the sequel, to the point of Marital Rape License.
  • Doting Parent: Charles is very doting on Dulcie and Daphne in particular, though this sort of applies to all four of his daughters. For example, he buys Dulcie a new pony just because she asked for one, and cannot stay angry with her for any length of time. He is also very doting towards Daphne, being very loving and caring towards her after her rape and not forcing her to marry.
  • Dumb Blond: DeLacy. Again, the girl has literally no clue. She even says that Cecily could never marry Michael because of the class difference. True, but she could have found a nicer way to say it. Oh, and this is when she's nineteen, so she really should have more of a clue.
  • The Ghost: While Felicity's sister Anne never appears, and later Dies Off Screen, she still plays a fairly major part in the plot. Her failing health is one of the reasons Daphne gives for pushing up the date of her wedding.
  • Good Parents: Charles Ingham and both of the Swann parents are very supportive of all of their own and each other's children. Charles in particular spoils all of his daughters and seems affectionate with all six children. Not so much for Felicity Ingham, who leaves the family at a very hard part in their children's lives, only to reappear randomly at her surviving son's engagement party.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Diedre in regards to all of her sisters, being not as pretty as even the youngest, Dulcie. Possibly also Richard's motivation for raping Daphne, as he may have wanted her for himself but knew that her father would not approve.
  • Happily Married: Daphne and Hugo. Also, Charlotte Swann and Charles Ingham become this in the sequel.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Happens to Michael, DeLacy, and Cecily at the end of the book, and also happens to Dulcie in the sequel. All the others age up, too, but it's not as noticeable for them.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: All of the Inghams have inherited their father's pale blue eyes, and (to the distress of their great-aunt) like to match their dresses to their eyes.
  • Killed Off for Real: Guy Ingham, Peter Stanton, Aunt Anne, and Richard and Julian Torbett.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: The two girls that have the longest hair in the sequel, Daphne and Dulcie, are also the most feminine of the four girls.
  • Love at First Sight: What Hugo feels for Daphne.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Poor Diedre. Though she is the second-oldest, she clearly holds some grudges over her younger siblings, especially her three younger sisters. This is most evident with Daphne, who is only three years younger and yet is very much The Ace of the family at first. Not so much for Daphne or Michael, the true middle children of the family.
  • Missing Mom: Felicity leaves the family after the youngest, Dulcie, is almost kidnapped, and only returns years later for Michael's engagement party.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Felicity seems to look pretty young to be a mother of a 22-year-old at the beginning of the book.
  • Overly Long Name: Both of Daphne's children have at least two middle names: Alicia Felicity Gwendolyn Charlotte Ingham Stanton and Charles Hugo Ian Ingham Stanton, and this presumably will also happen to the third through fifth children.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Two characters have the nickname "Charlie": Charles Ingham and Charlotte Swann.
  • Parental Favoritism: Both Daphne and Dulcie are clearly well-loved by both the family and the staff. It is possibly this reason why Diedre seems to dislike them both so much.
  • Parental Neglect: Happens to Hugo when his mother blames him for his brother's death and sends him off to America. Felicity also abandons all of her children when she leaves the family, to the point where twelve years later, none of them call her "Mama," but by her first name.
  • Precision F-Strike: The only uses of the word "fuck" in the entire book is during the World War I trench section.
  • Rape as Drama: Poor Daphne gets raped approximately 75 pages into the novel.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: While not full royals, the Inghams are all related to the earl, Charles, and so do have some aristocratic standing. The oldest male, Guy, goes to fight in World War I, and the only thing that stops his father and his younger brother are their poor eyesight.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Diedre, DeLacy, and Cecily's nickname Ceci.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Daphne becomes pregnant at 17 and gives birth at 18. Possibly gives birth to her second child before age 20, but is definitely pregnant with him at 19.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Diedre does this in the sequel.
  • True Blue Femininity: All the Ingham girls wear a lot of blue, to match their eyes.
  • Vague Age: Genevra, the gypsy girl, though she appears to be older than DeLacy and Cecily, but younger than Daphne. (She has to bend down to be on the same level as Cecily, but everyone still calls her a girl.) However, this is subverted in the sequel, where she explicitly reveals herself to be twenty-seven (the same age as Michael at the time), meaning that she was fourteen during most of the first book.
  • The Unfavorite: Diedre seems to be the least-liked of her siblings, especially seeing as she didn't even seem to have a coming-out ball, as she is still living at home and single at the age of 20, whereas her seventeen-year-old younger sister Daphne is going to have her ball within a year at the beginning of the book.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Michael winds up getting together with Cecily in the sequel, as do Charles and Charlotte, who were also childhood friends.
  • White Sheep: Apparently, Julian is this in the Torbett family. He is the only one who grows up to be neither an alcoholic nor a perverted rapist. Unfortunately, he is also the first Torbett to die.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Felicity has been cheating on her husband, Charles, for the past 4 years and is willing to leave her entire family, including her 6 children, two of whom are not even in their teens, behind. Also, happens with Charles' sister, Lavinia.

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